UN Security Council condemns North Korean missile launch

Even as the US government continues to warn North Korea to take a more soft lined approach to the festering disagreements with South Korea and the usa itself, the latter has not given any indication that it is willing to do so.

"We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever", South Korean pilot Colonel Lee Bum-chul told reporters.

The latest bellicose statement follows North Korea's weekend display of military hardware in a parade marking the birthday of its founder Kim Il Sung and two attempted missile tests, one of which failed.

The statement agreed Thursday to demands for an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests and threatens to impose new sanctions.

Council diplomats, speaking anonymously because discussions were private, said the US, which is in charge of drafting council statements and resolutions on North Korea, had dropped the call for "dialogue" as part of its effort to toughen the text.

Pyongyang periodically warns Washington of the dire consequences of taking on North Korea militarily. None of the USA officials who said about the heightened level of activity by Chinese bombers suggested alarm or signalled that they knew the precise reason for such activity.

North Korea watchers had also speculated that the regime was ready to conduct an underground nuclear test, but no evidence of any such activity has been detected.

The joint US-South Korea military drills are due to finish at the end of April, and a US aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, is also heading towards the Korean Peninsula, Trump's administration has said.

Meanwhile China has thrown its own spanner into the works by claiming that the US supplied THAAD missile defense system that South Korea hopes to test soon interferes with its own radars.

"In the case of our super-mighty pre-emptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only United States imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the USA mainland and reduce them to ashes", it said.

"Without crossing the red line such as a nuclear test or a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, until the April 25 anniversary of the Korean People's Army, North Korea is expected to continue to launch mid-range missiles", said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at Sejong Institute outside Seoul.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to London the military option must be part of the pressure brought to bear.

South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meeting with top officials on Thursday, repeatedly called for the military and security ministries to maintain vigilance.

North Korea test-fired what the United States believed was a mid-range missile on Sunday.

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